Updated: Jul 11, 2022
I spent a lot of time listening to my ego stories.
I spent a lot of time punishing myself because I knew better and could be better.
I was failing at life.
I ruminated on the past;
What others did and how I should have reacted.
What I should have done differently to have a better life.
What I should have done to be a better parent.
I should have.
I was never enough.
I was sometimes too much.
I had to have control.
Life had to be perfect.
I went to a self-development retreat with so much guilt. So much hate and blame towards others, but also myself. I had such low self-esteem. Such low feelings of self-worth. I compared myself to everyone - how I could be better, and on the flip side judging others to deal with my own feelings of inferiority. I felt shame for how I felt and behaved. The feeling of guilt sometimes had me wanting to crawl out of my own skin to escape from myself.
The largest part of my guilt came from being a mother.
I know all the theory to conscious parenting. I gave great advice. Knew how to deal with tantrums, knew how to support children in no longer being a fussy eater, I knew all the theory. It seemed so obvious. Especially after having analysed my own childhood and knowing where certain behaviours from caregivers had created issues for me. It all made so much sense. But each time I was overwhelmed, which was frequent, I would not be a conscious parent. And knowing what that might mean for the development of my child the guilt started creeping in. And with the guilt, shame. Shame and guilt, which lowered even further my sense of self-worth, of not being good enough. Of failing. Which would then lead to more negative self talk and overwhelm. Then with that came more guilt. It was a cycle that kept on going until I learnt to break it.
I know that I did the very best that I could with the resources I had at the time. Although married, my husband worked away a lot. I home educated my eldest and I had my youngest who was a baby and then toddler. I had no family near by, I was in a new area so only had one neighbour I could feel I could ask for support. What a fabulous neighbour she was - my guardian angel, everyone needs a Caroline in their life.
I recognised that I needed to make a change, not just for me and my quality of life, but for my children as well.
My antidote to guilt? Self-love, self-acceptance and forgiveness.
Accepting ourselves for exactly who we are and what we feel. Love. Imperfection. Strength.
Anger. Sadness. Joy… All of it. Every last piece of us.
We just want to be welcomed and loved for exactly as we show up. For others to show us love.
That unconditional love we crave, we need to give ourselves first. We need to feel with our whole hearts that full acceptance of who we are. The amazingness we have to offer as well as all of that ickiness, those uncomfortable emotions. All. Of. It.
I have forgiven myself. I did it in ritual in Morocco. I had other people to forgive, to release. And just like I wrote in a post earlier, forgiveness isn’t about the act, or the other person, it’s for releasing yourself. Releasing yourself from the past that holds onto you.Because there are always new situations where forgiveness needs to be practiced, for myself and my own serenity, I practice forgiveness regularly. I practice it in ritual.
Ritual practices are important for intention and celebration. Our primal brain integrates intentions and new ideas better through ritual and ceremony. If you think about it, ritual is everywhere in our lives to create commitment. We see ritual in baptisms and naming ceremonies, we see it in weddings (religious and non), we see it at graduation ceremonies, we see it at award ceremonies. It is a time for celebration and commitment to a ‘new’. When it comes to forgiveness and releasing guilt, it’s committing to a new love for yourself and an acceptance of self.
So I regularly forgive. I forgive others, but mostly I forgive myself. Because I’m still healing from my childhood wounds and I’m doing my best. We can only ever be fully responsible for ourselves. To love ourselves and forgive ourselves.
I would be so honoured if you would join me. In forgiving others and releasing yourself from their behaviour. But most importantly, from forgiving yourself, so that you can show yourself more love and compassion. Because you are enough, you aren’t too much.
You are loved and accepted, exactly as you are.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at email@example.com.